Smartphone Apps for Driving

February 7, 2017

Using your smartphone while driving is – in most circumstances – not recommended. Knowing that distraction is the cause of many serious and fatal crashes, there’s no reason to be browsing Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat while driving. However, some smartphone apps could actually help drivers make better decisions on the road.

Helping Drivers Stay Focused

Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T all have apps for minimizing distractions while driving. Here’s an overview of what those apps do:

  • DriveMode (AT&T):
    DriveMode lets you choose five contacts that you can call or who can call you. Beyond that, calls are blocked for other contacts while you’re driving. You can set the app to turn on as soon as your car reaches 15 to 25 mph, and it will prevent you from sending or receiving texts or interacting with games or social media. When your car is idle, the app continues running for five minutes, to reduce distraction at stoplights.
  • Drive First (Sprint):
    This app sends calls to voicemail and mutes alerts for emails and texts once your car has reached 10 mph (you can still dial 9-1-1 from the home screen, though).
  • Safely Go (Verizon):
    This app won’t kick on automatically, but upon activating it when you get in your car, it will allow calls and texts only from three contacts, and it sends auto-replies to others that you’re driving and can’t respond at the moment. It also allows you access to only three driving-related apps (like those you use for navigation).

Aside from those free apps, there are also some paid apps that drivers can use to stay focused, such as:

  • MessageLOUD ($15.99 per year):
    If you spend a lot of time in your car and need to keep up with work-related emails or other important messages, this may be the app for you. MessageLOUD reads your texts and emails out loud, and you can dismiss, reply, or send an auto-reply with a swipe across your phone (no need to take your eyes off the road).
  • tXtBlocker ($7 monthly/$70 per year):
    If you’re a parent whose teen has driving privileges, tXtBlocker can help you keep them safe while driving. You can configure the app to disallow all texting in specific locations and at certain times of day, and you can track the phone’s location. This app offers a 30-day free trial.
  • Nearly There SMS ($1.49):
    This simple app eliminates one of the most common reasons people text while driving – to let a friend know they’re “almost there.” With this app, you can configure your phone to send an automatic text when you are in the vicinity of friends, carpool buddies, or anyone else you’re picking up.

Responsible Driving

You’ll find plenty of apps that are intended to reduce phone-related distraction on the roads, but those apps can’t do anything to control other distractions, like chatting with passengers, grooming, eating, or daydreaming.

Technology may be able to improve safety, but drivers must also make a conscious effort to avoid driving while distracted.

If you have any questions about this topic or believe that a distracted driver is responsible for your injuries, the attorneys at Wapner Newman can help.